The date was September 26th, 1950 in the city of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. The Korean War was four months in, McCarthyism was deep into ripping the commies out of America and a man by the name of Charles Monroe “Sparky” Schulz would create a popular comic strip called Peanuts. Two cops by the name of John Collins and Joseph Keenan notice some weird looking object falling from the sky and instantly call for backup. When two more cops show up they investigate the crash site and discover some purple ooze that was apparently so light that it wasn’t even bending the grass.
“Yo Joe, kume oder hare and see dis jelly ting!“
The ooze would completely evaporate into nothing and only leave some sort of odd looking and smelling residue. It was reported to the FBI and later the The Philadelphia Inquirer. The next day the story was printed and would be sent down to other news source, but in a more trimmed down version. Needless to say, the entire matter became a national laughing stock. I guess I could see why they may have overreacted. It was the 50’s and who knew what the commies were doing or sending over our ways.
What they probably saw is known as a Star Jelly, which can come from the mucus of frogs or worms. The idea that it “fell from the sky” was probably made up! They were just embarrassed about poking around some frog jiz. I would imagine John Collins and Joseph Keenan were made fun of for their gooey UFO that they saw. But it is in this interesting event that we would get a new kind of monster to the big screen. Does this story sound kind of familiar? Sure it does because only a true horror fan hears this and knows this is 1958’s The Blob!
The Blob is a silver age horror film from 1958 that was directed by Irvin Yeaworth and Russell Doughten. It stars “cool man” Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut and Earl Rowe. Producer Jack H. Harris was looking to make a creature feature in 1957. So Jack sought out writer Irvine H. Millgate for a monster movie. Millgate was instructed by Harris that it had to be in color rather than black and white. The monster also had to not look “cheapy creepie” and have substance. Something that people haven’t seen before but had some stupid way of killing it in a way that “grandma could have cooked up on her stove.” Millgate recalled the purple ooze story from Philadelphia and soon the blob was created!
In a small town in Pennsylvania, teenagers Steve and Jane are making out at lovers’ lane when they witness a meteorite crash land not far from where they are. Feeling adventurous as teenagers do Steve and Jane set out for discovery and adventure. But low and behold, their night will be filled with gelatinous terror of amorphous size!
High Ho Silver!
I just had to do a Silver Age horror movie for day four of this marathon. My first two movies were Bronze Age 80’s and my last was a modern. As a big fan of the silver horror era, it only seems right to highlight the most defining movie of that time period. Not many people realize it but 1958’s The Blob is without a doubt, the movie that started the biggest trend in cinema! It would change everything known about horror and its effect still remains today.
Before The Blob, all horror movies were specifically created for the older viewers. This isn’t saying that young people didn’t see horror movies. It’s just there was never a horror movie featuring exclusively teenagers and the culture encompassing around teens. Most movies had big strong men as the lead and teens/kids were merely “just there.” You can see this in movies like Them!, Robot Monster and even The Crawling Eye. The Blob was the movie that was made directly for teenagers and boy did it deliver. It wasn’t even the main feature when it was released. It knocked out its leading movie in theaters called I Married a Monster from Outer Space and quickly gained popularity. The movie even had this groovy theme song for the kids to dance to!
We get a movie where the heroes are the cool teenagers racing their hot rods and staying out late. The Blob reflected the cultural clash of youth with society. Know one takes Steve seriously because he’s just some tool bag that listens to that rock n roll music and drinks the sherry from his moms baking cabinet. The dude probably hasn’t even gotten his Eagle Scout honors yet! But Steve and the other teenagers become the heroes. They’re the ones that heroically pursue the alien sludge and find the way to defeat it. Only an idiot can’t see how this has been mimicked in every age of horror! If you’re a fan of A Nightmare on Elm Street or The Lost Boys then you better kiss The Blobs ass! I don’t really know where the ass is because… it’s a blob… but get kissing!
So with that little bit of horror history out of the way. I can rightly say that The Blob has a special place in my heart. There’s a good blend of teen angst that doesn’t get in the way whenever the blob is on the screen eating people. Sure it’s not graphic like it would be in the 1988’s remake but it works and the gore that is there is believable and painful. Some parts of the movie are kind of slow and forgettable though. The one scene with Janes brother is absolute torture.
I can’t imagine how shitty it would be to have a monster engulf you whole and just digest you until you’re dead. The Blob itself is an insanely clever monster that does what no monster has done before. It eats a person and then grows. The creatures dread continues and only becomes worse. It doesn’t change its tactics, just grows so that is scary in its own way. Plus the thing can get you anywhere you are. You close a door on its gooey face and it will simply seep its way through the cracks. Guns and conventional weapons don’t harm or stop it so what can you do? Even Godzilla would become prey to the Blob! You can’t escape the hunger of the blob! There’s that theme of inescapability again.
Look at this picture of the blob where he’s attacking the movie theater. He’s coming for the people inside and he’s also gonna eat the words Bela Lugosi! It’s as if the directors did this on purpose to prove that this new monster was replacing the old. Get out of the way Dracula! Go F yourself Frankenstein! Up your ass with broken glass Wolf Man! The Blob is here to replace you with it’s fatty reign of terror and its only getting bigger and bigger!
But wait a minute, remember what producer Jack H. Harris said to writer Irvine H. Millgate? The monster needs a method of defeat that my grandma could muster on her stove! While the Blob seems to be an unmovable force, its main weakness is cold. I don’t know why but freezing the thing is the only way of stopping it. Even then you don’t really stop it. Just make it immobile for a little while. So they crate the cold remains and fly it to the north pole! There it sits, chilled like a frozen mound of strawberry jelly. Maybe this is why all the environmentalists don’t like global warming? If we heat the earth up then the icy prison that encompasses the blob will melt and this slimy beast will once again reign down on our very way of life! Americans are so fat that this will make it larger than the oceans! We’re all doomed! So please for the love of God pick up your trash and do your best to keep the damn heat from rising! Besides, I live in Florida and it’s hot as balls down here. If it gets any hotter then I don’t know what to do. So please keep this in mind and also thanks for joining me for day four of Horror Movie Marathon where we honor The Blob!